Saturday, March 14, 2009

And now...a cry from the heart.

Good Lord man, have some self-respect

Jon Stewart has amassed a passionate following over the years as a sharp-edged satirist, the man who punctures the balloons of the powerful with a caustic candor that reporters cannot muster.

Stewart morphed into a populist avenging angel this week, demanding to know why CNBC and its most manic personality, Jim Cramer, failed to warn the public about the risky Wall Street conduct that triggered the financial crisis.

Cramer has told colleagues he felt blindsided by Stewart's hostile approach.

Hostile? You think that was hostile? That was gracious. Incisive, but gracious. You want hostile, go on The O'Reilly Factor sometime with an opinion with which Bill disagrees.

Oh, and blindsided? How could you've been blindsided? Anyone who watched The Daily Show for even a week could've told you exactly how that was going to go down.

Jim Cramer (forgive me for resorting to a cliché), if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Finally, a few more people are watching Sarah Connor Chronicles and Friday Night Lights

"Terminator" (3.5 million viewers, 1.2 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and 4 share) went up 20% for last night's "Today is the Day Part 1" (which at these viewing levels translates to a couple tenths in the adult demo).

It's too early to read too much into this. After four weeks of gradual but steady decline, hopefully the gain means both shows [Dollhouse is up too] have at least found their midseason bottoms.

"Friday Night Lights" (4.4 million, 1.5/5) up from last week.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Anne Hathaway has the ability (as an actress) to pull you into whatever emotion her character is feeling at the time

If she's sad, you feel sad, if she's angry, angry.

I'm mentioning this because I wanted to say something that I figured out about why Hathaway is so good in Rachel Getting Married. Which I saw in the theater back in October and just watched again over the last couple of days on DVD.

I guess all actors have that ability if they're any good at all but I think Hathaway has it more than some.

Of course, it may be that I feel this way because I am "in love" with her but I don't think so.

There are a lot of women that I appreciate for their beauty--I have an entire blog devoted to this, after all.

But I don't think most of them can act the way she does.


I feel a little bad because I see again I've taken up most of this space talking about Hathaway, both because of the "absolutely in love" thing and because she drives the movie.

But, as I'm sure she would be the first to agree, if her performance is not met with equal passion and commitment by her fellow actors, the film dies.

But it is, and the wonderful thing about the plot and the way the story is told is that it gives each of the family of lost souls their moments. And the actors cast know how to take those moments without Taking Their Moments, if you take my meaning.

Debra Winger, as probably comes as no surprise, knows how to pack a lot of punch into her small but key role as Hathaway's mother. And Bill Irwin as her father...well, Bill Irwin seems like Humpty Dumpty after the great fall. But Rosemarie DeWitt, as her sister, is perhaps first among equals.

And Jonathan Demme and his cinematographer Declan Quinn (who shot something like 99% of the movie hand-held) know how to catch them on the fly.

This brings me to something I also wanted to say about the film as a whole, after watching the featurettes and deleted scenes, and listening to the commentaries.

(All of which I recommend if and when you get the DVD.)

It gave me a new appreciation for the film as Jonathan Demme's return not just to an "independent" film ethos but very nearly an experimental one.

What do I mean by experimental? Well for one thing, there were apparently almost no rehearsals, which is stunning in light of the weight the film has.

What I'm saying here is that you know how sometimes, when you see a movie, and you really like it, then a few months later you see it again and can't figure out quite why?

...this is not one of those movies. It's a movie that when you see it again you realize as much as you liked may have been even better than you thought.

It's about missed moments--but do not, under any circumstances, miss it.

Jesus Christ.

As you may have seen, John McCain’s daughter, Meghan has been getting some attention recently because she dared criticize Ann Coulter.

As usual in these cases, I'd be more impressed if she'd done so when Coulter was on the cover of Time, instead of waiting until the hate-spewer's books were already slipping down the charts. But, you know, whatever.

Recently, however, Coulter's fellow minion of Satan Laura Ingraham has commented on Ms. McCain's criticisms by calling her "plus sized." Seriously.

For the record, this is Ms. McCain:

A perfectly nice looking woman. But that's not the point.

The point is that the response of one grown woman to another's expression of her opinion was basically to say...

"Fatty held a party and nobody came!"

Jesus Christ...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A question from The '80s Man

You may have heard of a movie opening tomorrow called Miss March. The premise is, apparently, that a man wakes up from a coma to find that (in the years in-between) his high-school girlfriend has become a model for Playboy.

Hillarity ensues (or rather, doesn't ensue, if the reviews are anything to go by). But of course, what I want to know is this:

Can the J.Geils Band sue the filmmakers for ripping off a perfectly servicable blues/rock song; taking its premise for a "crass, unfunny; poorly made gross-out comedy with little to recommend it?"

I'd like to think that they could.

Or, "Why I watch MSNBC and not Fox news"

Believe it or not, it's not all that often that I actually yell at the television. But last night if you'd been passing by my apartment door at precisely the right moment, you might've heard me crying "WHAT?" with an almost animal savagery.

See, I was watching Keith Olbermann, though as you can imagine I wasn't yelling at Mr. Olbermann. I find him to be generally a fun, literate anchor that pays attention to the details, although I do wish he would refrain from trying the funny voices. He doesn't do them well.

But anyway, as part of his broadcast last night he replayed clips from wimpy conservative Ari Fleischer's appearance earlier that day on the Chris Matthews show. Fleischer was putting forth the really quite astonishing thought that President Obama--and by extension, the rest of us-should be thanking Bush for keeping us from getting attacked from 2002-2009.

This is really quick thinking, since you don’t want to count the almost 3,000 people who died in the September 11, 2001 attacks. It's not really fair to blame Bush for those, after all.

But that's not even what got me yelling at my TV. No, what did that was Fleischer implying--nakedly--that Saddam Hussein was involved in those attacks. In any way. Whatsoever. He said (via Think Progress):

after September 11th, having been being hit once, how could we take a chance that Saddam Hussein might not strike again?

For the love of god. Here's something which has been discredited for years, and they're still trying to...

Well, you can see why I was forced to give voice to my outrage.

Well...this is iffy.

Minka Kelly [Friday Night Lights] and Jason Dohring [Veronica Mars] have been been cast in The CW's pilot "Body Politic."

The drama focuses on a group of attractive young staffers working in Washington.

Hmm. On the one hand, Kelly and Dohring are capable of great performances, as well as being good-looking. On the other, the premise of this series does sound an awful lot like some network executive decided:

"Hey! Wouldn't The West Wing have been an even bigger hit if the cast had been younger and better looking?"

So, let's look into the creative side of this...Hm. It's being produced by Thirtysomething/Amazon Women on the Moon/Children of the Corn actor turned producer and director Gary Horton, who presently works on Grey's Anatomy.

Which I think means I can safely predict that although this show may be a hit it will not, as they say, be "My kind of thing."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

From the expression on this girl's face, would you guess that the next guy who tells her to iron his shirt is getting it right in the kisser?

Or is it just me?

An unsolicited plug

If I were the sort of man who wore dresses, this is the sort of dress I would wear.

If you are that sort of man (or heck, even if you are a woman), you can find them here.

Write your own joke here

Former President George W. Bush will give his first post-presidency U.S. speech in Erie, Pa.

Never mind Chris, everybody hates Rush

About one of three Americans has a favorable opinion of radio talker Rush Limbaugh, while nearly half have an unfavorable opinion, according to a new McClatchy-Ipsos poll being released today.
Oh, okay, not everybody, but...

Now this is gonna be must-see TV.

CNBC's Jim Cramer is scheduled to appear on [Jon] Stewart's show tomorrow night in culmination of a week-long basic-cable feud,

(If you don't know about the build-up to this, follow that link)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oh please, oh please...

"Friday Night Lights" may be close to being renewed for a fourth (and even a fifth?) season.

Everything is connected

In another one of those semi-random coincidences, young actress Jessy Schram appeared in last night's episode of Saving Grace, as Grace's niece.

Schram also has a recurring role on Life and, I'm reminded by her Wikipedia entry, was one of Logan's girlfriends on Veronica Mars.

(For that matter, she was also on Boston Legal and House...)

You don't suppose...?

Yesterday, at 5:56:26 pm, somebody found this blog by googling the words "hewitt" and "varkentine."

Somebody in Beverly Hills, California.

You don't suppose...?

Nah, couldn't be.

Monday, March 09, 2009

I just liked this.

It's called Go Away You Owls.

And it's from the Sketchbook blog of Kirsti Wakelin, who very kindly gave me permission to reprint it here.

Thanks Kirsti!

Dalek cookies


I can't decide if these look nummy or vaguely obscene.

Fans of loveful relationships between women and dialogue that doesn't make you want to scream will sleep soundly tonight

"The L Word" is over. It's done, done, done!

And word is...the last episode sucked.

Gosh, who could've possibly seen that coming?

Apart from, you know...everybody!

So you want to see a Kylie/Kraftwerk mashup.

As luck would have it, we can arrange that...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I'd say it was cartoonish--except that the Clerks cartoon was actually funny.

Early this morning, because it was on Comedy Central, I decided finally to give Kevin Smith's Clerks II a try. I had been reluctant to pay any money for it either in the theater or on DVD...and I was right to trust that feeling.

Oh, my god. This is where laughter goes to die.

I will say this for it: It's rare that a movie so perfectly encapsulates itself as this one does in the scene where Smith's Silent Bob, cued to give one of his sermons, opens his mouth, hesitates, shrugs and says, "No, I got nothin."

As an audience silently thinks, "We know." Just as in Jersey Girl, Smith shows here that he has nothing to offer but clichés ("Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.") and shallow pop culture riffs (The Transformers: A gift from god, or unholy curse?).

Oh, and I also loved the scene where Randall wonders why Dante always (in other words, in both movies) has a couple of hot chicks to choose from. I loved it, because again the answer is obvious: He's Smith's surrogate and wish-fulfillment character.

(Smith chose to cast his own wife as Dante's domineering fiancé, whom he must throw over to find true happiness with the bouncy hottie Rosario Dawson. I wouldn't touch the psychological implications of that with a 10-foot pole.)